Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jane Eyre Gets a Makeover

When I was thirteen years old, I was certain that if you wanted to be taken seriously in this life, you should probably wear little wire-rimmed glasses, carry a book in your hand at all times, and know how to speak authoritatively about the classics—that you must be able to quote lines of poetry and reference scenes from Shakespeare in any given situation.

Now, the first two were easy for me. After nearly squinting myself to death, my seventh grade pre-algebra teacher finally suggested that perhaps I was due for some glasses. And as it happens, I’d been carrying a book at all times since Amelia Bedelia. But the third task was a bit more daunting. I mean, classics? Seriously? As far as I knew, the only people who actually read that stuff were old people and…older old people (and Mom—but at the time, I thought she was old, too). So, being the ambitious type that I was, I picked up GONE WITH THE WIND. And read it in a week. And then I read it again. But not long after that, I discovered romance novels, and as far as classics went, that was pretty much THE END.

Until JANE EYRE.

(And Wuthering Heights, but mentioning two books diminishes the impact of the sentence, no?)

Over the course of the next year, I probably read JANE EYRE, oh…10 times? 2o times? I’m not sure exactly. I totally lost track. For some reason, I felt connected to Jane. I don’t know why. And Mr. Rochester? Swoonalicious. I loved the romance, the mystery, the phases of Jane’s life, the romance, the romance, the romance. My word, I love that book. So you can imagine how I must have felt when I discovered that a modern retelling of JANE EYRE was going to be released. I’m telling you, I could hardly breathe. When the ARC of JANE arrived at my house, I danced around my kitchen in a very ugly, embarrassing way.

So yeah, I had some majorly high expectations for this book. Especially when I discovered that Mr. Rochester had been transformed into a rock star. Holy crap, that’s awesome.

 

JANE by April Lindner

Jane Goodreads description: Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.

Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

MY REVIEW

The thing about knowing JANE EYRE as well as I do is that I didn’t really expect a lot of surprises in reading JANE. A part of me was also very, very worried I’d end up having to burn the book in a tragic bonfire if it screwed with the integrity of the original (Think: “We Are The World”—not everything should be remade, people.). But as it turns out, I was being a moron.

While JANE followed the basic premise of JANE EYRE with characters comparable to their original counterparts, the new story had such a modern, original feel to it with a wholly revamped plot. I mean, how could it not when Mr. Rochester is actually Nico Rathburn, a sexpot rock star? The setting is no longer Victorian England, but the American East Coast (and partly set in a rock and roll world). Jane is no longer a governess, but a bright 19-year-old college drop-out nanny with a penchant for sticking her foot in it. And let me just say, without the restrictions of a delicately sensible Victorian society, the same romance transforms into something way hotter. But the essence of that romance? The passion? The love? Still the same. And that’s why I adored JANE.

Now, do you have to read JANE EYRE to enjoy JANE? Nope. Ultimately, the characters felt really fresh and original, especially compared to what’s out there in young adult fiction today. For one thing, the main character is nineteen—at the upper range of YA, but how refreshing. I think it’s about time we begin to see more YA books with college-aged protags and more mature voices (this is not to say the characters in JANE always made mature choices). I loved that Jane and Nico weren’t these angelic, gorgeous beings with nonstop confidence and over the top snark (love that, too, but variety is spicy—or something like that). But, do I think my love of JANE EYRE influenced my newfound affection for JANE? Possibly. I’ll never know for sure. But I know this much: JANE would hold its own as a contemporary YA romance even if JANE EYRE had never been written. JANE is a well-written, romantic breath of fresh YA air.

JANE will be released October 2010.

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Be sure to stop by and check out what some of the other Bookanistas are reviewing today:

Bookanistas_logo Lisa and Laura Roecker are giving us the scoop on THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL

Myra McEntire is dishing on PARANORMALCY

Elana Johnson is raving about THE REPLACEMENT

Shannon Messenger is praising  THE BRIMSTONE KEY

Christine Fonseca is celebrating AMAZING AUGUST RELEASES

Shelli Johannes-Wells is recommending PARANORMALCY

42 comments:

  1. I love retellings!
    And can you believe I"ve never read JAne Eyre?!
    I was a young girl with (coke bottle) glasses and a book (Judy Blume) in my left hand and a softball in the other. :)

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  2. I do want to read this, but mostly because I hate Jane Eyre. I know, I know--I was the rare English major who disdained all of Austen, and the only Bronte for whom I gave a crap was Emily. I love Wuthering Heights. As for the rest, I share my opinion with Mark Twain. :)

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  3. I LOVE, Love, love Jane Eyre(Wuthering Heights: blah.) This looks like an awesome book. I can't wait to get my little hands on it.

    And if Mr. Rochester were a real person and alive today, I would probably stalk him. Seriously.

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  4. I loved Jane Eyre (even though the Brontes kind of rub me the wrong way... sorry Summer, I'm an Austen girl).

    Sometimes modern updates ruined what you loved about the original, but it sounds like this one pulled it off. I'll defintely put it on my reading list!

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  5. I love all the Brontes and Austen.

    I'm def intrigued by this remake.

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  6. Hoe did this get by me? I LOVE Jane Eyre!

    Thanks for the wonderful review!

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  7. This looks amazing! Thanks for the review, I'm adding it to my list!

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  8. +JMJ+

    Oh, WOW! I'm super excited about this book now!!! =D

    Believe it or not, I'm currently in the middle of Jane Eyre (my first reread in over five years) and loving it so much more than I ever did. When I heard about this new retelling in your ARC Giveaway post, Carol, I was curious, of course, but that was it. Now that I've read your review, I am officially CRAZY and DESPERATE to read this book!!!

    I wish I could go back to my entry form and change it so that Jane becomes my first choice.

    Or maybe it would be more to the point to wish that my name gets drawn while Jane is still available?

    Whichever works--as long as it works. =P

    And now I'm crossing my fingers, my toes, my arms, my legs, and my eyes so that I win the ARC in your giveaway!!! If I do, Carol, I will love you FOREVER and EVER!

    (Yes, I understand that all this over-acting and sucking up has no power over random generators. =P But at least it's a way to thank you for your review, right? THANK YOU!)

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  9. So glad that you gave this a positive review as this is on the top of my list to read when it comes out! Now I'm even more excited!

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  10. Love your Jane Eyre enthusiasm. I've got to confess that, while experiencing my early teen years in a small Southern town where not much happened, Jane Eyre became the romantic ideal, the stuff of which dreams were made. I'd heard an updated rewrite was coming out and felt a little, oh, no you don't. But, if you can fall in love with the story all over again, I'll give it a read. Thanks, Carolina!

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  11. Ooooh interesting re-working of an absolute classic!!!

    Thanks for the info about this book. I'll have to think about this one.. hmmmm as Jane Eyre is one of my favourites ever (gothic romance - yum!!).

    Take care
    x

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  12. Dude, I might be banned, but I've never read Jane Eyre. So I think I might actually read this one!!

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  13. Hello. I'm a new friend? Follower? Either ways, this is the first time I've read one of your reviews and I love your style. As for Jane Eyre, I read it again last semester for this Brit Lit class and I had to keep reminding myself it was for a class because usually academic reading just isn't fun. I wasn't too sold on Jane however but now that I've read your review, I believe I'm convinced. Thanks.

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  14. OK, I must admit, I've never actually read Jane Eyre. However, this new modern version sounds right up my street so I may actually get it! Great review!

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  15. Um...*blush*...I haven't read Jane Eyre either. *hides*

    But this sounds pretty stinking awesome. I think I need to give it a chance.

    AWESOME REVIEW!

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  16. Ooh, I LOVE Jane Eyre. I can't wait to read this now!

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  17. Oh my giddy goat I LOVE Jane Eyre! I have been reading it for a decade. I just reread it a fortnight ago after a particularly harrowing dystopian book had me in floods of tears. I needed the comfort. I am feeling a little "the original is the one an only" about it, but I might give Jane a try if it comes my why. Rochester would make a sweet-ass rock star!

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  18. I want this book. Now!! Thanks for the review!!

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  19. Wow. That was one amazing review, Carol. I thought I'd pass on this one, but you sold me! :-)

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  20. I love Jane Eyre. Looking forward to reading this!

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  21. Excellent review, Carol. You may have surpassed your already high standard of reviewing with this one.

    Also, no vlog of the dance around the kitchen? *sigh*

    ;)

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  22. What a great review...and considering my college thesis was on Charlotte Bronte...I'm there. Thanks!

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  23. What a fun review! Funny, though, . . . and don't hate me . . . I never cared for Jane Eyre. The romance with Mr. Rochester always kind of creeped me out. I think it was the age difference . . . I haven't dared pick it up since my first read in HS.

    But maybe based on your review I could give this other one a chance. After all, a lot can change in *** years! ;)

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  24. oooooo, I want to read that. Wonderful review, thank you!

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  25. I. Love. Jane. Eyre.

    I really want to read Jane now! Thanks for the review.

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  26. Wonderful review as always...You should send them in to a newspaper or magazine. You really do a great job without being a spoiler.

    Have a safe weekend!

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  27. I was dubious, so glad to read your review. I'll put this one on my list :)

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  28. I loved this! I'm so curious about this version, definetly has my interest! =D

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  29. I really enjoyed this book :) I read Jane Eyre for the first time (can you believe it?) Right before reading JANE and wow... They were both great!!

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  30. Just read Jane Eyre for the first time recently and loved it!
    I have given you an award at http://tampabookworm.blogspot.com/2010/09/one-lovely-blog-award.html

    Have a great weekend!

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  31. What a great review. Now I want to go dig out my copy of Jane Eyre and read it again, too!

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  32. My Aha! book was Pride and Prejudice, but I loved Jane Eyre, too!

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  33. Haha, oh, man, we were elementary school twins, right down to Gone With The Wind taking a week of my fourth grade life! My review? The parts where the soldiers come home for a very long time are really boring. I wasn't quite as in love with Jane as you were, but I totally read it at least three times, before I stumbled upon Elizabeth Bennet, who had the added bonus of having my name.

    But now I'm terribly intrigued by JANE, and I look forward to October. What a lovely review!

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  34. Great review, Carol! I'll be checking this one out.

    Oh yeah...loved Jane Eyre. Loved Wuthering Heights, too, but I'm always surprised it's not as popular as Eyre. More tragic, I guess. Still...great Gothic writing.

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  35. I haven't read Jane Eyre as many times as you have, but I do love the story. I have tried to read a few fan fiction/continuations of Pride & Prejudice and I just can't finish them...they just can't compare to the original! I'm willing to give Jane a try, though. It seems more of an 'inspired by' than a revamping.

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  36. Thanks for the fabulous review. I'll be adding this to my wishlist now.

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  37. That books sounds like so much fun; I'm going to add it to my list! My affair with the classics (older reads, unlike Little Women and The Secret Garden) began with Pride and Prejudice - all those adaptations of it on the small and big screens didn't hurt either! - and is still going strong. I could totally relate to your love for Jane Eyre!

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  38. Thank you for the review. I loved JANE EYRE, and am definitely looking forward to JANE.

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  39. I love Jane Eyre!! It was the beginning of my love of gothic novels. This one has been on my list and I'm happy to know that it's very good. Thanks for the write up!

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